Dr. Benjamin N. Tuggle is the Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) Southwest Region. He began his distinguished career with the Service in 1979 at the National Health Research Center in Madison, WI. Since then he has served in key leadership positions throughout the nation, including field experience and time in the agency’s Washington, DC headquarters office.
Dr. Tuggle holds a B.S. in Biology from Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley, GA (1975); and advanced degrees in Zoology from The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH (M.S., 1977 and Ph.D., 1982). Dr. Tuggle’s academic pursuits and efforts have produced a total of 18 publications in eight referred scientific journals and three chapters in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Resource Publication.
Numerous environmental issues of national significance fall under Dr. Tuggle’s direction. His responsibilities include: endangered species, migratory birds and fisheries and aquatic resources oversight; National Wildlife Refuge administration; water resource development; applied science decisions; wetland and upland habitat protection and mitigation; habitat conservation, restoration and acquisition; endangered species; energy development; National Wetlands Inventory mapping activities; Coastal Barrier Resources Act; conservation efforts on military installations; marine mammal protection; International wildlife conservation; and other related conservation issues that impact fish and wildlife resources.
Since beginning his tenure as the Service’s Southwest Regional Director in 2005, Dr. Tuggle has successfully directed some of the nation’s most complex and controversial issues in natural resources management. He has effectively overseen conservation issues along the U.S./Mexico border; created the Wolf-Livestock Interdiction Program for the Mexican gray wolf; and established three new National Wildlife Refuges –including the first urban National Wildlife Refuge in the Southwest. In addition, he has developed and implemented cooperative conservation on public and private lands; worked with wind energy development to promote the Service’s conservation mission, and effectively coordinated with the many middle Rio Grande stakeholders to resolve complex water issues.
As Southwest Regional Director, Dr. Tuggle has spear-headed conservation efforts for a variety of controversial species protection initiatives including: the Rio Grande silvery minnow, the Southwest willow flycatcher, the Mexican gray wolf, the dunes sagebrush lizard, the lesser prairie-chicken, and the humpback chub.
Dr. Tuggle works extensively in a collaborative manner with other federal, state and local resource agencies; Native American tribes; the private sector; and non-governmental environmental groups in order to accomplish goals and objectives that promote fish and wildlife conservation. He has maintained this collaborative, productive and positive interaction within FWS, and with its partners, throughout his career with the Service. His precedent-setting partnership efforts have included protecting potentially listed species through conservation agreements with private landowners and industry; establishing tribal eagle aviaries and non-eagle feather repositories to support Native American religious and cultural activities; and working with private land owners to provide wildlife and water conservation on private lands.